In this week’s Meet The Band spotlight are Receiver, who hail from Cyprus. Their debut album is Whispers Of Lore. Let’s get to know Receiver, whose lineup includes vocalist Nikoletta Kyprianou, guitarists Andreas Kyriacou and Charalambos Vassiliou, bassist Loizos Koukoumas and drummer Yiannis Xanthou.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Receiver.
Receiver were formed back in 2011 in Nicosia, Cyprus, as a 5-piece band, with the aim of delivering pure heavy/epic Metal with some compositions also drawing influences from various folk styles. After a hiatus period of six long years (which happened due to other commitments for the band members), the band was brought back to life with a new lineup, which came together to bring to fruition some old ideas as well as composing brand new material. These were carefully combined and our debut album Whispers Of Lore was recorded, and released via Gates of Hell Records on the 10th of November 2023!
Describe the songwriting process for Whispers of Lore.
As mentioned above, as soon as the decision for the reunion of the band was final, we all gathered and brought forth some of the older ideas each of us had. These were ideas from individual members, or past Receiver ideas that never fully came to fruition. We all collectively begun working on each song, thus inspiring each other into creating what would come to be Whispers of Lore. Along this amazing process came a few new songs. It is fitting to say that we managed to merge the new with the old, showcasing and carving our musical style as a band.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
That deep feeling of excitement that after all these years, we would all finally have this experience together. The recording was a big stepping stone for the band, that up until then, was unsure of its direction. But as soon as we entered Entasis Studio in Athens, and were greeted by Nick Papacostas, we all knew instantly that this would end up being something that defined us. We had such a great time recording the album and we definitely can’t wait to do it again!
How would you characterize its style/genre?
We were never big on boxing our music, but it is also quite obvious that our sound is inspired by the traditional NWOBHM as well as traditional heavy, power and epic metal. We are also big fans of Folk music from around the world, among other genres, something that is quite easy to comprehend while listening to the album. So in a sense, we are a blend of all of the above, while still keeping up with our own unique identity.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Through our songs we are mainly addressing the ills of humanity: social injustice, imperialism and the vein, nefarious degradation of the human condition that is war. Using fantasy and allegory, we express these concerns, sailing on a music voyage of battle and lore.
How did you come to sign with Gates of Hell Records?
After the recordings were finished, we submitted our songs (via an e-mail) to Gates of Hell Records and were delighted to receive a positive answer! We then took our cooperation as a step-by-step process, carefully carving what would be the timeline for the release. We have been really keen towards kick-starting our collaboration with the label, since they had in the past provided us metal fans with great music from other bands (which we also dearly appreciate and listen to). All in all we are proud to have been able to join that roster of talent!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Well, our main goal is to have people be able to identify, connect and enjoy our music at the greatest possible level, and surely to gain the expected momentum in order to be in the position to do this once more (i.e. go and record the next one promptly!). This should always be number one – having listeners enjoy something we create, inspiring us even more, to continue moving forward. We hope this album brings joy and a lot of headbanging to anyone who listens to it!
What has been your most memorable Receiver live show?
We are fortunate to have quite a few choices when it comes to this answer. Our first gig will always be one to remember and of course our last gig at Up the Hammers Festival in Athens, Greece, which to an extend was one that we could only dream of (if you consider where the band was and what came to be in these recent years). It was the first time that we have ever played abroad and we were really surprised and humbled to see all of those people cheering us on and headbanging to our songs.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Well, first and foremost we have our album presentation live gig, taking place in our hometown Nicosia on the 25th of November and we are currently planning a string of live shows across the island, in promoting our music/debut album. Following this, we aim to take our live show out of Cyprus (in 2024) and play some gigs in other countries as well. Although we already have confirmed something, we are still not in position to announce anything just yet, but expect some news really soon.
How did you get started in music?
We can say that, as a band, we had this urge to play, perform and compose music from an early age. Attending live gigs, listening to classic albums from our seniors – which in some cases were of a ’90s rock style/direction of music, which was more prominent during our younger years. We appreciate the fact that all of the aforementioned played a significant role in defining our musical preferences. This, combined with our yearning to learn to play an instrument, which was clearly targeted towards the music we liked at the time – and still do – lit the final spark. We then picked up our guitars and sticks and started pounding them! Of course the biggest inspiration came after discovering the Holy Grail called heavy metal, and that took our musical urge to another level, giving us the incentives needed to get together, form a band and have a go at writing our own music.
Who where your early influences and inspirations?
As far as early influences go, in terms of metal music, we can say that these would include the more well known bands of the classic metal era, like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Dio. We later on discovered bands like Warlord, Omen, Manilla Road, Running Wild, Riot (and many many others) – which helped define our sound and style. Of course we are also greatly influenced by the folk sounds of the traditional music of our island Cyprus, which can be evident to a certain extend in our compositions, surely constituting earlier influences for us growing up.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
The first metal gig by a well known band applicable for most of the band members of Receiver is Scorpions live in Nicosia, on the 28th of May 2004 (we just realized this is more than 20 years ago – wow!). This must have been one of the first times a famous metal band descended to our island and I remember that we were all very excited and ecstatic at the time! Other than that, we have had quite a few metal bands playing in Cyprus even before that. So most of us saw one of the biggest bands of the island that now has a cult status – Armageddon.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
The band members have been really active in sports (football, basketball, cycling), until recently, when our guitarist Andreas broke his wrist playing football (which also needed medical operation) whereas this has brought a bit more caution to that area, due to the great love we have for music and our desire to always be in position of playing and performing (luckily for Andreas everything went smoothly and he is now back in action!). Moreover, we are avid book readers, cinephiles and D&D players. We love everything when it comes to fantasy and horror. Last but not least, we are proud to mention that our singer Nikoletta is deeply involved in the art and illustration department and she has carefully and lovingly created our album cover for Whispers of Lore! You can see more of her work at her Facebook Page – Nikoletta Kyprianou Illustrations/Artwork.
How is the metal scene in Cyprus?
We believe that if you take into consideration the size and scale of the island, the metal scene has grown to a satisfactory level and many bands remain active, with some metal bars keeping the flame alive for all thirsty metal maniacs of the island! As per the bands, Cyprus has currently a strong arsenal of metal groups, which compose great music and give out great performances upon the stage. Namely, we can mention Mirror, Solitary Sabred, Hardraw, RUSTX, Dragonbreath, Arrayan Path, Infected Syren, Ladderman, Temple of Evil, Ars Notoria, Frozen Winds and these are just few of the great bands of the island.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to say a few words for the band and provide details for the various personal aspects that brought us to this day! We are looking forward to the release of our debut album Whispers of Lore via Gates of Hell Records, and we really hope that you like it. As stated above, we are planning a series of live performances, so we bid you farewell with hopes of seeing you soon in live venues across the world!
(interview published November 11, 2023)
Listen To Receiver – “Unite”